In honor of Halloween, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the Disney World ghost stories that are out there. Could the “most magical place on earth” actually be haunted, you ask? Well, it depends on who you talk to, what you read, and your own personal beliefs in that sort of thing. I would consider myself an open-minded skeptic. In other words, I think anything is possible, but I believe most of the “sightings” are probably more urban legend than reality. In all of the years that I have been visiting Walt Disney World, I have only once experienced anything unusual which I will share with you in a bit.
First, let’s take a look at a few of the Disney World ghost stories – some famous and some lesser known. Now as we all know, no one dies at Disney World. It has long been reported that no one is pronounced dead until their body has actually been removed the property. So who are all of these ghosts said to be roaming the resort? Good question!
Pirates of the Caribbean
This tale is probably the most well-known of all of the ghost stories of Disney World. As the story goes, a young construction worker named George fell to his death while working on a high area of the Pirates’ building. Each day cast members say good morning and good night to George over the PA system, and if they don’t give him the respect he desires, it is sure to make a long day for them. This ghost is known to cause all sorts of mischief such as shutting down the ride, causing breakdowns, making phone calls from an empty control room, and appearing on the ride monitors. Many guests have reported feeling a mysterious chill especially in the room with the burning city where it is believed George fell to his death. His favorite hang outs are rumored to be near the pirate with the pigs, under the bridge of the pirate with his leg hanging over, and near the door (known as George’s door) by the dog with the keys. Word of warning about George: There have been reports of guests going on Pirates of the Caribbean shouting that they don’t believe in George and have later found themselves stuck on the attraction for a long period of time due to a breakdown.
There is another pair of apparitions that are said to call Pirates of the Caribbean home and they are known as The Ladies. This mysterious duo is rumored to have met their untimely demise when the boat they were riding in, came off the track at the bottom of the drop and crashed as they sat in the front row. It is believed that they still linger in this area to this day and can sometimes be felt with a cold chill.
Man with a Cane
In this tale, many cast members working alone have said that they have seen a “man with the cane” riding the attraction late at night. When spoken to, he does not respond and then disappears out of sight. Who is this mysterious man? He is said to be the ghost of a pilot that died when his plane crashed in the 1940’s into what is now known as Bay Lake.
Another spirit that is rumored to inhabit the Haunted Mansion is that of a little boy. Unlike the Disneyland ghost story of the little boy who cries while looking for his mother, this child appears to be happy and just rides the attraction alone peering out from his doombuggy. There are a few photos circulating the internet that are said to be of this particular apparition.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Several guests have reported seeing the ghost of Roy Disney on Main Street during Wishes smiling and seeming to be thoroughly enjoying himself.
Tom Sawyer Island
For years, guests that venture over to Tom Sawyer Island have reported getting an unnerving feeling and seeing shadowy figures in the tunnels and caves of the attraction.
This ghost story tells the tale of a little girl with long blonde hair and a young boy that are often seen playing together in front of the attraction as well as riding together.
Impressions de France
Many cast members have reported seeing a figure late at night in the theatre after it is closed. When they approach to escort him out, the apparition disappears.
Tower of Terror
In this story, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is said to be haunted by a former “Bell Hop” (cast member) that died during his shift on one of the loading platforms. The story goes that this “Bell Hop” ghost is known to appear on Platform D, flicker lights and freeze the attraction when cast members are trying to do their final ride through at the end of the day.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I consider myself an open-minded skeptic. Despite the fact that I have visited, lived in, stayed in, and dined in places that have been deemed haunted by some of the countries most respected ghost hunters, I have yet to experience anything that I can say without a doubt was “supernatural”. I’m actually quite scared of the paranormal, so maybe that’s the reason I never really feel or see anything that I would claim as beyond our reality. However not long ago, I had an unusual experience at the Haunted Mansion.
On a solo trip I took earlier this year, I headed over to Magic Kingdom on a day with early morning Extra Magic Hours. I arrived 30 minutes before the park was to open to find that the crowds were very light. I knew that once the park opened, I would easily be able to walk on any ride that I wanted. I decided that I would make my way to Big Thunder with a quick stop in Haunted Mansion first. When the gates opened, I strolled down Main Street taking in the sights just as the sun started to rise. Most of the guests walked towards the castle (on their way to Mine Train or an important meeting with a Princess, I would guess) while a few others hurried to Tomorrowland. I found myself completely alone as I meandered towards Liberty Square. It was a strange feeling for it to be so quiet in the park during the day. My kids and I have been in Adventureland at night when we were the only guests in sight before, but the daytime isolation had a very eerie feeling about it. In no time, I arrived at my destination – Haunted Mansion.
As a child I was absolutely terrified of this attraction, and to be honest, I was probably a teenager before I really felt comfortable experiencing it. Now it is one of my favorites, and I look forward to riding it several times during each of my trips. On this particular day, it would be my first time experiencing the attraction alone. As I approached Haunted Mansion, I noticed that no one was in line. There was a cast member out front, and she waved me on through to the entrance. Once inside, it was so early the doors were open through the stretching room to the loading area. I slowly walked in unsure of whether to bypass the pre show and head straight for the doombuggies or not. After a couple of moments of standing alone, I left the stretching room and made my way directly to the loading area. The cast member waved me into the doombuggy and said that I was the first “happy haunt” of the day. I climbed in with no one else in sight except for me and the cast member.
I sat back to relax and enjoy the attraction as my doombuggy began to creep down the first long hallway. A few seconds later as I’m looking ahead at the backs of the empty doombuggies ahead of me, I see what looks to be the face of a little boy peering out of his ride vehicle back at me. I nearly jumped out of my seat, because I thought that I was the first rider of the day and that I was alone. I quickly calmed down rationalizing that the cast member that boarded me must have been confused and that there was a family already on the attraction before me. I went about my ride not giving the little boy another thought as I enjoyed the grim grinning ghosts around me; until I reached the end. As I climbed out of my doombuggy, the cast member as I exited said that he hoped that I had enjoyed being the first “happy haunt” of the day. Startled by his comment, I quickly asked him if he was sure and that didn’t someone just get off the ride a few cars before me. He said no, I was definitely first and that if I wanted to stay, I just needed to bring my death certificate next time.